“We act as though comfort and luxury
were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need
to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
Brokelyn is a webmag devoted to living the best possible life in Brooklyn regardless of one’s means. It was founded in 2009 as a post-crash survival guide by Faye Penn, a writer and editor for magazines and newspapers including The New York Observer, New York Magazine, The New York Post, InStyle and Marie Claire, among others. Since then, Brokelyn has evolved into a general interest destination whose irreverent mix of news and humor have made it essential reading for people who live, work and go out in Brooklyn, plus other people who just want to. We also run apartment listings, events, a bar guide and publish the wildly popular Brokelyn Beer Books. Find out how to advertise on Brokelyn here.
Brokelyn’s “angel investor” was a New York City cab driver named Susan who passed away in 2008. She was a scrapper and a news junkie whose cantankerous wit enlivened the letters pages of every newspaper in town. She was also a generous person with unique ideas about friendship. Thanks, Susan. We hope they have Wifi wherever you are.
Meet Team Brokelyn
From: Beachwood, NJ.
Cheap BK Activity: The Rev. Vince Anderson’s weekly free show at Union Pool; terrifying levels of Simpler Times consumption.
From: New Orleans, LA
Cheap BK activity: Hanging with the dog! At home, at the park, on long walks.
When not Brokelyning: Write freelance articles around town, and the occasional creative piece. See lots of movies. Try to go on as many outdoorsy day trips as I can.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: make my own cold brew iced coffee at home to save the $4! But then I drop $10-$12 anytime I’m within sniffin’ distance of a negroni. Bit of a love affair happening there.
From: Toronto, Canada
Cheap Brooklyn activity: Roof beers. Outdoor movies. Beach day.
When not Brokelyning: I act in shows, write plays, do funny, and sling puns at Punderdome 3000.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: you can make your own kombucha and kimchi, it’s not hard. I’ll splurge on shows at BAM.
From: Northern Virginia
Cheap Brooklyn activity: reading by the water at one of the very few North BK waterfront spots that are still open to the public.
When not Brokelyning: I’m writing and editing books, biking, and going to every unusual quirky performance or cultural event I can, because why else do we put up with the insanity of living here?
Cheap secret, one splurge: Salon Apprentice. I’ve never paid for a haircut or dye job in my entire 15 years in NYC. Also am a casual fan of dumpster diving and a rabid fan of clothing swaps. I think my secret splurge is bras because they are srsly just too important to skimp on.
Lilly Vanek: Music Editor
Twitter. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Baltimore (and yes, I’ve met John Waters. He has great taste in socks)
Cheap Brooklyn activity: Music! Free shows at Pete’s Candy Store, cheap shows at Silent Barn, Palisades, Shea Stadium, Baby’s All Right and more.
When not Brokelyning: I’m seeing/making/writing about music. Also visiting the taco truck.
Cheap secret, one splurge: Trader Joe’s brand beer, LUSH skin care.
From: Manhasset, NY. Also known as East Egg. Yes, I knew Gatsby.
Cheap BK activity: Getting a burrito ($6.50) and beer ($2) at Urban Rustic and sitting in McCarren Park watching people exercise.
When not Brokelyning: I’m drinking beer, talking about beer, or looking for the next bar to add to the Brokelyn Bar Guide.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Street shopping. And by that I mean picking up furniture and other gems (books, records, the occasional cash register) off the streets and putting them in my house. Splurge: beer festivals, anything craft beer related.
From: Long Beach, NY. It’s ah, a long beach
Cheap BK activity: Eating free wings on Mondays at the Brazen Head. Listening to arguments drift in through my window. Also the Sol and tequila special at The Narrows has been known to cause feelings of invincibility. At least, it does for me.
When not Brokelyning, I get drunk and tweet things about the Mets and hockey, write the occasional short story and try to figure out why I’m not at Shea Stadium on any given day.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Writing for Brokelyn means free breakfasts on Thursdays. It’s not a secret anymore, but have you seen our guide to bars with free food? You’ll never grocery shop again. Splurge: MetroCards. I don’t care if it is public transportation, the subway is for rich people.
From: Clinton, Connecticut (the New England part—not the New York part—of the country’s third-smallest state)
Cheap Brooklyn activity: Biking down to the beach! (This is technically pedaling through Kings to get to Queens, but shhh!)
When not Brokelyning: I’m making all the things from the kitchen to the lab. Or exploring. Or drinking. Or exploring while drinking.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Keep your living expenses down–compromise on location for rent, cook most of your own meals from scratch, and bike everywhere forever–and this ridiculously expensive city becomes surprisingly affordable. I will splurge on the occasional cocktail, but a well-made one with good company is well worth it. (You can also make them yourself for dimes on the dollar…but we’re talking splurges, here!)
From: Palmyra, PA (Little town right next to Hershey. Lots of cows — Hershey smells better.)
Cheap BK Activity: Shopping at Buffalo Exchange. I once got 4 dresses and a costume viking helmet for under $50.
When not Brokelyning: I work in marketing by day; occasionally produce theatre by night. I also work on the screenplay I promise to one day finish, consistently almost win pub trivia and play with my BFF (my nephew, Donovan). I’ve also recently been inspired to potty train my cat, so there’s that.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Secret: Find friends who willingly share their Netflix/Hulu Plus/HBO Go/Amazon Prime account information. Paying for cable is so old-fashioned. Splurge: Really, really good Scotch.
From: Kokomo, IN (before you ask — yes, it is exactly like The Beach Boys’ song)
Cheap Brooklyn activity: Drag.
When not Brokelyning: Actor (before you ask — yes, it is exactly like Joey Tribbiani)
Cheap secret, one splurge: I pirate all my television. I splurge on rain boots, but because I splurge on rain boots, I only need to splurge on rain boots about once ever 5-10 years.
From: Annapolis, Md.
Cheap BK Activity: Biking down to Fort Tilden Beach and enjoying the free sun and surf.
When not Brokelyning: I work in an office, as my pale complexion belies. I also co-edit a literary quarterly and complain loudly about hipsters to anyone who will listen.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Secret: People will just hand you money on the street if you threaten them. Splurge: Books and notebooks of any kind. And handguns.
From: Pittsburgh, PA
Cheap BK activity: Hunting. It requires patience and laser focus. It once took me over a year of stalking my prey, but I found THE perfect leather moto jacket at No Relation Vintage…for $20.
When not Brokelyning: Art directing & graphic designing at an agency for money. Making art and working on my ‘zine for love.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Always ALWAYS pick up books from the street. One man’s trash is my mother’s future birthday gift. I splurge on plane tickets. There’s so many places to see, and I want to order the cheapest beer available in all of them.
From: New York City
Cheap Brooklyn activity: Park times, Dyker Heights dim sum, Summer Screen in McCarren, Prospect Park Broomball
When not Brokelyning: I’m working in a restaurant and food fest marketing. So mostly eating.
Cheap secret, one splurge: Always carry a flask / sushi.
From: Canarsie (what happens when you fall asleep on the L), then Oceanside, NY (what happens when you fall asleep on the Belt Parkway)
Cheap BK Activity: Bocce at Union Hall. It’s only expensive if you’re a lush. So maybe this isn’t my cheap activity…
When not Brokelyning: I write humor and sketch comedy, perform improv, host trivia nights, perform bhangra solos at gigantic Indian weddings, frequent K-Town for my karaoke/galbi fix, and recreate the last meal requests of Death Row prisoners. Currently trying to turn my backyard into a garden/outdoor theater.
Cheapest Secret, One Splurge: If you want to enhance your free Brooklyn Bridge Park movie with a pizza from Grimaldi’s, call and order for pickup and bypass the perennially long line. Give up alcohol in the month of February: No major holidays, and it’s still cold, so you have an excuse to stay in more. You’ll lose weight, get smarter, and save tons of money (true story). Splurge: Maker’s Mark. Also, anything that’s guaranteed FUN.
From: San Francisco, CA
Cheap BK Activity: Complaining about Brooklyn.
When not Brokelyning: I’m telling jokes, slinging coffee, taking names.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: I won’t buy beer unless it comes with free food, but I will pay any amount for a pińa colada.
Faye Penn: Founder
From: Framingham, MA., an utterly unrivaled mall town.
Cheap BK Activity: Riding back and forth on the Ikea ferry with contraband; walking around Ditmas Park pretending I’m in the Catskills.
When not Brokelyning, I… Work as Executive Editor of The New York Observer. Hang out with Papa Brokelyn and our three kids.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Cheapest secret: $8 eyebrow threading at Raheela’s Coney Island Avenue. Also, buying coffee beans at TJ Maxx. There’s way more than one splurge, but I’m going with highlights by Borja Cau. She’s a genius.